POOLER -- Friday is a historic day for both the City of Savannah and the United States.
Eighty years ago, Jan. 28, 1942, the charter for the Eighth Air Force was created in a former National Guard Armory, 1108 Bull St. in Savannah. Its main objective was two-fold: first, to cripple Hitler’s war making capabilities by destroying factories and taking out transportation lines; and second, to clear the skies of the Luftwaffe so that an allied landing on continental Europe would be possible.
Lt. Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold appointed Maj. Gen.Carl Spaatz to command the new Eighth Air Force. Brig. Gen.Frank Hunter, of Savannah, was put in charge of Fighter Command and Brig. Gen. Ira Eaker was made head of the bombardment force.
Of the 350,000 members of the Eighth Air Force serving during World War II, 26,000 were killed in action and another 28,000 became prisoners of War. Instrumental in the victory over Germany, the Eighth Air Force grew to be the “Greatest Air Armada of all Time.”
In recognition of this historic anniversary both the City of Savannah and Chatham County Commission will issue proclamations at their respective meetings this week. The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force kicks off a yearlong celebration starting with $8 admission Friday and 8 percent discount in the museum store.
About the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force
The museum educates visitors about the character, courage, valor and patriotism of the brave individuals who fought in the Eighth Air Force, the largest air armada in history. The museum uses films, exhibits, artifacts and archival materials to tell the stories of individuals who served in the Eighth Air Force. Their sacrifices made victory in World War II possible.
Museum highlights include a fully-restored B-17 "Flying Fortress" and the multimedia "Mission Experience," an immersive simulated bombing mission in a special theater utilizing actual combat footage. The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force is located at 175 Bourne Ave., Pooler.. Operating hours are Tue-Sat 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m.
For more information, call (912) 748-8888 or www.mightyeighth.org.